Now in its 5th year, the organisers of #ScreenMediaExpo can easily lay claim to the fact that 3,195 attendees and 120 exhibitors have just walked away from the best event in London ever.
In term of exhibitors we at last had, the big corporates such as Christie Digital, Intel, Harris Broadcasting and NCR all attend which made a big difference we think to the dynamic of the event.
With a number of really big corporates now seemingly taking our industry very seriously, we think we are reaching a tipping point with those exhibiting at events like this being either very large or (relatively) quite small. For those software vendors like EnQii or screen manufacturers like Samsung who seem to think they don’t need to exhibit then they better wake up and smell the coffee or seriously face losing mindshare.
Let’s not forget the stalwarts of the show though – those folks that we have made mention of before who have been to the show year after year: Sony, Daktronics, Hyundai, Arch, Minicom, signagelive, BF Group and BLUEFOX.
Scala and Broadsign were both out in force and showed, we think, a lot of folks in our #DSTop10 why and how you should take an event like this so seriously.
In terms of leads, it seemed that there were genuine buyers in attendance
- As we made mention in a previous post during the show itself, there were lots of retailers walking the show floor – especially it seems betting shops and in fact lots and lots of creative agencies.
- Jason Cremins, signagelive, told us he walked away from the show with over 200 leads.
- Ronni Guggenheim at Minicom Digital Signage told us they had a really good show – there seemed to be a hell of a lot of interest in their proof of performance launch, reckons that they must have had between 80 and 100 genuine prospect.
- Both Iconic Images and Amigo Digital told us they walked away with 50 solid leads for their content and content services alike.
- #ScreenMediaExpo is well known for attracting a truly European audience – figures in past years have been well over 50% from outside the UK. Again this time around there was a great international flavour. Joe Graziano from Christie Digital told us that 30% of enquiries on their stand for MicroTiles were from continental Europe.
Whilst the usual, well known industry faces were in attendance and seen walking the floor (Don Sperring, Chris Frampton, Thomas Doktor, Mike Fabian, Stephen Platt to name a few) what was most impressive from our perspective is that when we looked out onto the carpet we actually knew very few of the people walking the exhibits. Surely a good sign for the industry that genuine buyers were in attendance (and not just tyre kickers and time wasters).
Celebrity came to the show floor as well in the form of the Apprentice winner Yasmina Siadatan and indeed Simon Sugar. Yasmina presented the last session of the DOOH Media Summit.
Simon Sugar told us “It was my first visit to a specific digital signage screen media expo, an interesting array of exhibitors” but let’s hope it’s not his last!
Like it or not, Amscreen are now a major force in the UK industry with a strong offering. We personally hope that they decide to take full part in the industry and exhibit next year.
The DOOH Media Summit seemed to be well attended – by our count, between 70 and 100 folks sitting in the auditorium at any one time. Hats off to Lock-On Productions who did a fabulous job in this upstairs auditorium with hiqh quality sound and vision. Perhaps #ScreenMediaExpo has now found its best home – the venue both upstairs for the paid for conferences and downstairs for the exhibit seemed pretty spot-on. Even the catering was quite good – albeit GBP 4.25 for a sandwich is a little steep!
We have never seen eye to eye with the organisers about the (walk-in) theatres on the show floor. All research they say points to the fact that attendees love these impromptu presentation areas. Certainly many were well attended but there were several as well where a sad presenter ended up talking to half a dozen people. Somehow we need to find a way to manage these better.
First off, we think there are too many theatres (there were 4 this time around). There were also too many ‘streams’ and even we had trouble in figuring out who was on, when and where.
The organisers also shouldn’t be afraid of repeating presentations. It was a real shame for example that Stephen Randall from LocaModa and Scott Davies (substituting for a poorly-ill Kelly Moulton) from never.no – BOTH great speakers and both talking about subject areas we are very interested in – were on in different theatres at the SAME time!
There is no harm in good speakers repeating their presentations later the same day or indeed the following day. We also need a better way of advertising / reminding folks who is on when.
Anyhow, next year we would like to see less theatres, more repeats of the better speakers AND all the theatres on the show floor need better acoustics (it’s noisy out there!).
In terms of the exhibit space: there were a lot of boring square stands and exhibitors need to try a bit harder we think (ourselves included in that criticism with our very boring standard shaped blogger lounge).
- signagelive and their Genius Bar concept had merit but didn’t quite live up to the original hype.
- It would have been hard for many of the exhibitors to match up to the huge Intel stand (which we liked) and the mix of vendors on the stand made it a place where many people ‘dwelled’ for a long time. Clever idea mixing and matching like this.
- Driving your ‘booth’ onto the show floor is one good way of being different and many punters will have walked away with the SA Digiadvans in the back of their mind.
- Also think about what Esprit Digital do. Every year they bring something new / announce something new at the show. This year it was their 70mm thin digital 6-sheet called The Wafer. Their stand was simple, clean, modern and located cleverly in a highly traffic’ed walkway. Sometimes even we don’t give these guys the respect they deserve.
- The Christie Digital stand was probably the best in terms of design and impact (and no we do not simply say this because they are a customer of ours). Modular in nature (likely to be used at VISCOM Frankfurt in November as well as a couple of places in between) it was everything but square. Obviously with the MicroTiles it had lots of interesting shapes on it but its colour (the dark red / crimson) made it stand out, it was accessible from many areas – had lots of nooks and crannies and some great content running on all the screens. Definitely others can learn how to do stands simply by looking at what was done here.
- Also great to see both Yesco and LiteLogic go head to head with the buses outside (the Yesco bus had some nice content from ourselves and Pink Banana Studios running on it) but both were parked a little out of the way and we would have liked to have seen them in a more dynamic environment – perhaps with more going on around them. English weather may not help planning for that but if you cannot bring the buses inside Earls Court you just have to take a risk and try and make a featured display / experiential event outside. Too many folks we think may have walked past the buses without much further thought.
- There were two stands with dummies manning them. Seriously there were two stands (Adscreens and Amigo Digital) with mannequins on the stand. Amigo Digital stood their 3 dummies facing their huge Panasonic screen which was very clever as it made you stop and stare – especially that blonde on the Amigo Stand who I am sure fancied me.
- Someone built a Bus Shelter in the corner of the hall near the entrance but it was too close to the entrance and it says a lot about it that we don’t know who it was actually from or for. It’s a very good idea though and we’d like to see more of these ‘contextual’ stands next year but let’s get these features in the middle of the show floor and do big, crazy things around them next time!
All in all a truly excellent show. It bodes well for the industry.
* All photographs courtesy Steve Burden Photography and available online for purchase.